Oppo Reno 2Z Review: Budget Premium
The Oppo Reno2 Z arrives in India just a few months after the debut of the Oppo Reno series. Both the space-sheet and the price indicate that the smartphone is not upgraded to Reno or Reno 10X Zoom. Instead, the Renault 2Z became the entry point of the Renault series. Oppo maintains consistency in series with a bezel-less display, unique color finish and multiple cameras. Only, instead of the Qualcomm chipset, the Reno2 Z is powered by a MediaTek Helio P90 SoC. We tested our suite on the Reno2 Z to find out if this device is worth your money. To read –
Let’s first go straight to the performance of the smartphone. MediaTek’s Helio P90 Reno2 Z is powered by MediaTek’s flagship chipset in the first half of the year. The chipset’s performance is comparable to that of the Snapdragon 710, but in terms of price, the Reno2 Z competes with the Redmi K20 Pro and Asus 6z among others, both with the Snapdragon 855 SoC. As a result, benchmark scores lag far behind these products, but this should not be a cause for concern. Here’s how the Renault 2Z performs on the benchmarks –
As the scores indicate, the Reno2 Z lags behind high-end value flagships like the Asus 6z and Redmi K20 Pro. But it did beat the Redmi K20 on some benchmarks, and in the rest, they were pretty neck-to-neck. Despite the lag, I didn’t really find a big difference in usability. The phone felt fast enough to get all my daily tasks done easily throughout the day. I used the smartphone as a daily driver on a recent trip to Dubai and it didn’t cause any problems.
It’s nice to play games on a bezel-less display. Games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile take up full screen and in full brightness, it’s quite an experience. The graphics quality of these games was also high, making full use of the PowerVR GPU inside. Frame rates are almost as good as you’ll find in Snapdragon-powered devices within that price range, but with some of the best we’ve seen, stability is right there. We tested three games – Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile, and all three of them run without a drop in the frame.
Reno2 Z runs on ColorOS 6.1, the same operating system that powers smartphones from Realme. It offers fast and even an app drawer. The UI design is perfect for a full screen experience with spaced-out icons, punch colors and slick animations. Only, the settings options are not sorted the way you would normally see on other Android smartphones. I had to struggle to find the keyboard settings. Even in the camera app, the viewfinder has the option to zoom down, while the option to switch to UltraWide is on the top shelf and Night Mode, Pro Mode and the rest are stacked at the bottom of a menu list.
Having said that, the gestures of the Reno2 Z work quite well. I especially like how Oppo prevents you from going back to the home screen if you accidentally swipe from the bottom while playing a game. To go back you have to swipe and hold. ColorOS also offers a gaming mode where you switch between ‘Balanced’ and ‘Competition Mode’, the latter of which blocks calls, notifications and release memory.
Although the UI is still quite swollen. Oppo has its own suite of apps which are basically Google Apps like Chrome, Play Store and preferred options. Moreover, there are apps like WPS Office, ORoaming, Helo and Soloop which are more relevant to the Chinese market than India.
The Reno2 Z comes with a 4000mAh battery that lasts for one day continuously during my daily use as a driver. More than that, the phone supports Oppo’s VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 which provides 20W of power to top up the battery in about an hour and a half. Battery drain was also quite conservative during gaming, with PUBG mobile play time of 15 minutes and Big Bang Theory viewing on Netflix reduced by 5 percent for 30 minutes.
The camera setup on the Reno2 Z is one of the reasons for getting this smartphone. The 48MP quad camera setup is unique in that it has a 2MP monochrome sensor and a 2MP depth sensor, in addition to the primary 48MP wide sensor and 8MP ultra-wide lens, and the camera ‘intelligently’ decides which one to use. It doesn’t have Reno 10X zoom to 10X hybrid zoom or Reno2 to 5X hybrid zoom. Instead, you only get 5X digital zoom, partly because it’s the most affordable in the Renault lineup. Still, the initial 48MP wide camera works quite well. I took several pictures during my visit to Dubai and almost all of them came out very well. Here’s how the camera performed:
The Reno2 Z’s 48MP primary camera offers one of the best optimized performance. The shots I took during the day came out very sharp with lots of details. Even the color and dynamic range was at the point with nice details in shades and highlights.
The wide-angle lens works quite well during the day, but I noticed an unusually warm tinge in the ultraviolet photo that is not present in the primary camera photos. More than that, the details are much softer than ultraviolet lenses.
The 48MP camera also offers 2x and 5x digital zoom. The former works by retaining most of the details, but at 5x zoom, you can see that the edges are cracked and the pixels begin to show. Not at all recommended.
Diesel mode on
Dazzle mode off
Also, I noticed that you got better results by turning off the AI-powered Diesel mode. The mode only enhances the contrast of the photos and I found most of the photos that look like posters using that mode. Turn it off, and the results are much more normal.
A little light
Despite having a full low-light mode, low light imaging is a weak spot for the Reno2 Z. It gets the color and brightness just right, but the details and sharpness become random, giving the photo a dull smoky look. Night mode has an additional tripod mode where the shutter stays open longer when the phone is stationary on a flat surface or on a tripod. The results are somewhat better but not extraordinary. The good thing about it, however, is that Night Mode works with both ultraviolet and primary lenses.
Selfies and portraits
Selfies and portraits have been a strong point on the Oppo smartphone for quite some time. They have literally sold the phone on a selfie basis and the Reno2 Z does not disappoint. Yes, annoying beautifying algorithms still work overtime, but you can turn it off and get natural looking portraits and selfies.
But my favorite feature of the camera is the stable video mode. It really pleasantly surprised me. Despite not having an OIS or even EIS, the camera was able to capture a super steady video when I was sitting in a car with original details and balanced color. You can watch the clip shared above to get an idea of how good the mode is.
Design and display
The price range of the Reno2 Z looks quite different from other premium offers. While most gradient designs tend to go overboard, the Reno2 Z’s gradient design is more muted, and I find it quite premium-looking. We got the Sky White variant which plays a central strip (where it is designed for Renault) and various shades of blue highlighted along the edges. I like the fact that the camera module is completely flush with the body and there is a small dot that prevents them from scratching the flat surface. The rounded edges help improve ergonomics and are actually quite easy to use while walking. It is protected with Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back. You’ll even get a 3.5mm headphone jack and a single speaker at the top edge of the screen.
Speaking of which, the display of the Reno2 Z extends to the edges with a thin razor bezel on all sides except the bottom. The lower chin is a little more prominent. The panel itself is quite bright. We have registered 693 lux of maximum brightness and 7 lux of minimum, which is quite impressive. The panel itself is AMOLED and can create vibrant colors with high contrast. The touch response is also quite decent and I had no problem taking headshots while gaming.
The last row
Reno2 Z is primarily aimed at those who want a premium experience on a budget. If you consider phones like the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Realme X2, the price is still high, but for that extra premium, you get a design that is easy to use and beautiful to look at. More than that, the camera performance will delight any casual photographer while amateur mobile gamers will find gaming on this smartphone quite enjoyable. Overall, the Reno2 Z may not be the best performer in this category, but it still manages to deliver a hassle-free, premium experience.